Local mental health services want to know how to
ensure people can influence their work.
get Engaged!' events are being held across
the region in August and September to gather the views
of members of the public, service users, carers, staff
and voluntary groups.
The events are being organised by Avon and Wiltshire
Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) in response to feedback
and a renewed drive to put service users and carers at the heart of
The sessions will look at how AWP currently involves people in
its work and makes sure their views are taken into
account. Ideas will be sought on how involvement can be
improved and how things can be done differently.
There will also be examples of some things that have already
been changed as a result of feedback over the last few months. For
example, a new service user and carer steering group has been set
up to make sure the Trust hears and responds to service user views
to improve services.
Service users and carers have been involved in setting up the
'Let's get engaged!' events.
They include Taff Cannon, an ex-combat soldier from Bristol who
suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder and feels that few
people really understand what this means.
He says, "I'm involved with AWP to make the staff understand. I
know it will make a difference in the care and understanding of
other veterans like myself who suffer."
His wife Lynda is also helping plan the meetings. She urges
others to come along and get involved. "This is a real chance for
people to make changes. We need you to find your voice and speak
out," she says.
Ian Chandler is a peer mentor with Bristol drug and alcohol
services. He says, "Before I got involved I was sceptical. Since
getting involved I know my voice has been heard, giving me hope for
Everyone's views are welcome, whether or not they have used
mental health services. The outcome of the meetings will be used in
the development of the Trust's new engagement
and involvement strategy for the next three years.
Hazel Watson, director of nursing, compliance assurance and
standards, said, "We are committed to putting service users and
carers at the heart of everything we do in AWP and these sessions
will be important in helping us hear a wide variety of
"Involving people is vital: it gives us a better understanding
of the needs of the people we serve and leads to better
decisions being made. Our services have to meet the needs of
service users and carers and we'll only be able to do that by
listening to service users."
Last year AWP commissioned the National Survivor User Network
(NSUN) to undertake a review of service user involvement. This was
as a result of concerns over the level, frequency and timeliness of
service user involvement. The NSUN report noted that the Trust
conducts involvement and engagement activities in a number of
ways and that there is some good practice. It concluded that
processes vary in their success and that there are areas that need
For more information or to book a place please click
here. A feedback form is also available for anyone unable
to come along to a meeting. An AWP representative can also
come along to groups in the community to hear people's views.
Please note that places per session are limited, so book early to
Let's get Engaged will culminate in a major co-production event
on 2 October designed to help shape a new Trust community
engagement and involvement strategy. Service users, carers, GPs,
commissioners, third sector partners and foundation trust members,
including AWP staff, are invited to join the discussion which will
determine the way we engage in future with everyone interested in
mental health. Places are limited so if you would like to come
along, please complete the booking form, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call the team on 01249 468 242. We want to ensure that all
groups and views are properly represented at the meeting so the
deadline for expressing a wish to attend is 15 September.